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News & analysis from Proletarian Internationalist Notes—news, reviews and analysis from a global perspective
Ex-CIA chief’s “mysterious” illness: Western media play dumb on psychology to warmonger against Pakistan
May 7, 2016
The Washington Post published a story a couple days ago raising the idea that Pakistan poisoned a former Pakistan CIA station chief after the united $tates killed Osama Bin Laden, an event that happened five years ago this month. The article cites “current and former” u.$. officials. The united $tates officially says there is no evidence. Either a certain impression is being created with the Post article, or warmongering Amerikans are having a disagreement with their government. Bin Laden is dead and gone, but Amerika still uses em to warmonger against Pakistan, now in connection with what sounds like hysterical symptoms. “ . . . [H]e was often doubled over in pain . . . the cause of his ailment was so mysterious . . . he said that the cause of his illness ‘was never clarified’ . . . Kelton began to experience stomach pain . . . Kelton took months to recover . . . .”(1) The Washington Post found “skeptics” and a former official who collectively suggested that paranoia and stress caused Kelton’s illness, but the Post included this opinion: “Even if the poisoning suspicion is groundless, the idea that the CIA and its station chief considered the ISI capable of such an act suggests that the breakdown in trust was even worse than widely assumed.”
The implication is that the united $tates can drone-bomb high-level leaders and operatives, and individuals responsible for less terrorism than the CIA, but to have an operation to weaken a CIA station chief in a country in which deadly incursions by the united $tates are ongoing, and in which opposition to u.$. influence and violations of sovereignty is widespread and popular, is shocking. Or the circumstances that make such a thing seem possible are shocking though stress is a simple and easy explanation. It can’t be that some Amerikans who have experienced pain/trauma and are involved in spying or warmongering have mental health issues, or if they do then the response must be to find fault with and attack non-Amerikans.
The New York Times (Carlotta Gall) had already raised the idea in 2014 that Pakistan was harboring Bin Laden and that the united $tates knew it by the time Gall wrote eir magazine supplement article. In 2011, then-CIA-director Leon Panetta and Barack Obama emself (both within a few days of the raid) were suggesting that the Pakistan government was protecting Bin Laden. To distract from how Bin Laden was killed, Obama highlighted the “justice” of the death itself and said anyone “who would question that the perpetrator of mass murder on American soil didn’t deserve what he got needs to have their head examined”—as if that would address the concerns of everyone including law professors in the united $tates.(2) Yet, the WaPo article illustrates a pattern of creating resentment on an extremely weak and even hysterical basis. Whatever happens as a result and however it happens, Pakistanis are just supposed to take it and are not to be anti-Amerikan even when the united $tates beats it with a corpse days or years after the death.
Obviously the top boss of the CIA is off-limits, as are janitors in Langley, so it’s not clear what Amerikans expect in certain contexts non-Pakistanis may not know all the details of. There were many things going on in Pakistan in the months before the raid. Wrong or not, and whether it happened or is just unlikely, it is as if a poisoning of the former station chief would have been worse than the alleged “plots against journalists, diplomats and other perceived adversaries” that u.$. officials reportedly mentioned. Perhaps Kelton declined to be interviewed because ey knows that portraying emself as a particular victim could be counterproductive or ridiculous except to the naive. Kelton knows that Islamabad was not like Moscow. It is also “plausible” that Kelton deliberately faked physical symptoms in 2011 to manufacture a card for future use against Pakistan, but is against people’s pursuing the theory now or only pretends to want to “let that whole sad episode lie.”
Some background. Pakistan is a proletarian country with a bourgeois government that receives money from the united $tates. Much of it ends up with u.$. companies, and there are various obligations such as Pakistan’s being used as a base for u.$. attacks. These are very unpopular in Pakistan, and some government Pakistani leaders and politicians oppose cooperation with CIA, Pentagon and U.$. State Department efforts, and others are pressured to oppose them. Sometimes there is inconsistency between words and action in the same officials, but in the Pakistani context and in global media the only people opposed to anti-Amerikanism are lackeys or fools. The message globally must be one of maximum anti-Amerikan pressure, not stupid public remarks against Islamism as if the oppressed were not in a stage of needing to deal with the fact that the united $nakes is exploiter #1 by far even among imperialist countries and repressor #1. The First World has no proletariat that can overthrow imperialism in its own country, and bourgeois governments are continuously (re)generated in the Third World because of the economic and political situation of u.$. parasitic hegemony. These governments end up being the only way for the proletariat to exert influence globally apart from media and some other areas in which the First World and imperialist country intelligence services dominate or influence. Of significant concern are sentiments against the very idea of Islamic government, combined with Reichian or quasi-Christian ideas about “love” and sex obviously favoring the West. The world needs a united front of countries that do not cooperate/collude with the united $tates. Even those imperialist countries that have conspired with the united $tates in the recent past while rivaling it should have anti-Amerikanism and should be scrutinized for non-obvious collaboration with the united $tates.
If one glances at the English-speaking Western media, there are the usual articles questioning Pakistan’s reliability and associating Pakistan with Amerika’s enemies or perceived rivals, “radical Islam,” and terrorism, and of course the sexual gender-related propaganda. One of the multiple anti-Pakistan gender attacks circulating right now is a story about a female who overcame “sexual repression” by having sex with many people in Pakistan premaritally.(3) The insinuation is that the “sexually repressed” Pakistanis would benefit from Western influence and more invasion in spite of themselves. It has been pointed out that the individual drawing global attention to eir sex life doesn’t represent any majority in Pakistan, that there is a sexual desire difference between many Westerners and Pakistanis, and that the behavior of Western males and Western females represents privilege that others don’t have. Of course, sock puppets and First World-influenced people on social media came to the defense of the individual “who embraces her sexuality and no longer gives a f*ck about what people from back home say or think about her.” The so-called revolutionaries defending em in global media and inviting reactionary Western “support” prove to be worthless except for serving imperialism, and counterrevolution in the short and long terms. As long as they continue to participate in the chauvinist and lying gender attacks against Third World countries, they cannot expect the world to be sympathetic when they complain about any repression that befalls them. There are no revolutionaries to defend who appear in global media as contributing to the gender propaganda that has been used countless times to support military attacks. Global comfort with their sex lives and their ability to defame their own countries internationally are not worth the thousands or millions of lives that would be lost in a u.$. or NATO invasion, or the lives currently being lost in ongoing military operations.
In the context of pornography, everyone from the Huffington Post and Mother Jones to Fox News has portrayed Muslims or people in Muslim countries (including Osama Bin Laden) as either sexually repressed or victims of government repression, particularly females. Nevermind that males are also punished severely, that less than 20% of Pakistan uses the Internet in the first place, or that there is a difference between viewing pornography and wanting to emulate Western males in the number of partners they have orgasms with in college. The possibility that there are many healthy people in the world with low sex drive, who can develop compulsive sexual behavior after being exposed to Western ideas about normal sexuality, is simply not recognized. Asexuality as a category is pathologized—often by the same hetero-liberals and “modern” Christians who were/are bashing gays—for the sake of heterosexual Western female sexual liberation or being able to attack people in the Third World with restrictive cultures or cultures that don’t emphasize sexual pleasure, intercourse, and male orgasm, as an end separate from reproduction. Western media allege sexual repression or moral hypocrisy in the same breath they warmonger against Muslims, and then they and traitors in the Third World play stupid and wonder why people think discussion of liberalization, expanding individuals’ freedom of choice in “sexual expression,” or going back to some more-tolerant or laid-back past, is influenced by the West.
There is an odd situation in Amerika where psychoanalysis as a distinct practice or thought has now largely been discredited in the eyes of Amerikan professionals largely for bourgeois, gender-privileged and pseudo-feminist reasons in that country, but the idea that people need to be f*cked carefree to alleviate various problems is quite commonplace as a debasement of, or supposed improvement on, what Freud said. Being able to have sex with a dozen people in a few years, without having to pay for expensive hotel stays, is regarded as necessary for health and development, almost a humyn right. In criticizing Islam, and other restrictive or less sexual-pleasure-oriented culture, many Amerikans—including both conservative Christians and fake communists—often without realizing it use ideas that come from Freud or Reich. The ideas became a part of the culture, detached from method, theory, and even authority. Of course, many of those using the words “sexual repression” do know where that comes from and may refer to a thinker or system explicitly, but Amerikans receive the ideas as fragments—divorced from a whole—confirming what they are already doing. The idea that Western males’ high level of desire and repetitive behavior sleeping with one persyn after another could have a hysterical and psychotic origin (as some psychoanalysts have discussed with renewed interest relatively recently) is found in Western culture to a small degree, but it is not nearly as prevalent as the idea that people everywhere need to reach the point where Western males are at, or where politically correct liberal Democratic u$ males are at. Few will talk about Don Juan in the context of a majority of Western males because to do so now seems to put females in danger of being “slut-shamed.”
The Western adulteration of Eastern religion includes concepts of both sexual repression and psychogenic illness or psychosomatic disease: a syncretism or eclecticism that combines unrelated and superficially similar elements of religion and psychoanalysis. So it is that you have people with holistic approaches to health who also encourage promiscuity, or at least do not directly confront it, in Western clients. It is possible that some of those who agree with the pro-hookup-culture Pakistani traitor recognized the possible mental issue in the Washington Post non-story about a possible poisoning without any physical sign or other evidence mentioned except pain. Most Amerikans, though, either are unaware of psychogenic/psychosomatic issues or wouldn’t think about them much while reading a news article. The Kelton “poisoning” story becomes another story about an Amerikan in pain related to 9/11, with an open question of responsibility in the midst of concerns needing to be addressed with more spying, threats, or bombings by the united $tates and its allies.
The entirety of the Washington Post article has been disseminated to u.$. military personnel in addition to appearing on numerous u.$. sites (both conservative and liberal) and non-u.$. sites based in India and imperialist countries.(4) Other outlets, including non-u.$. English-language media, published derivative articles based entirely on the Post article, but totally omitting the part about skeptics believing Kelton’s illness was probably caused by food or stress.(5) The Post article contains, “Instead, skeptics believe that Kelton’s Moscow mind-set saw conspiracy in a condition more likely caused by bad food or the pressure of the job. ‘Stress does funny things to the body,’ said one former senior agency official, who added that ‘there is zero evidence” Kelton was poisoned.” It is not that people in Britain, and “Punjab Times” in Australia, are unaware of any relationship between stress and illness or disease, but it was not significant enough to be mentioned. The effect is to change the reader’s estimation of how plausible the poisoning is. It is equally likely Kelton’s illness had a mental cause; although, to raise the question all over the place puts Pakistanis in a more difficult position in diplomacy and opposing military cooperation.
Kelton no doubt interacted at some point with a CIA psychiatrist, doctor or therapist who had some awareness of the mental aspects of illness, even if ey lacked the motivation to pursue appropriate treatment with Kelton. The CIA employs such people. A lot of work clearly went into producing the anti-Pakistan hit piece, but the Washington Post merely cites and quotes mostly anonymous officials and “colleagues” with unclear specialties. It appears there was no attempt to consult any non-government doctor or psychologist to understand what a medically unexplained illness might mean. It would have made the poisoning explanation seem less likely to be true.
The Washington Post writer mentions that Kelton had abdominal surgery in the united $tates (how long after the pain started is unclear), but that Kelton wouldn’t disclose the nature of the surgery. Yes, because it was probably unrelated to the pain that Kelton started experiencing some time between May 1, 2011, and July, or if it was related then the surgery was for a stomach or gallbladder issue, or something, with or without a psychosomatic component. Better to leave questions unanswered to benefit an anti-Pakistan narrative. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy isn’t as mysterious-sounding as a surgery with withheld information, and might seem take away from the idea that the surgery was for something physical related to poisoning. Removing Kelton’s gallbladder could have been done as a precaution or to rule out certain diagnoses. Even if Kelton wasn’t trying to support the poisoning theory, most wouldn’t be comfortable talking about a bowel issue or mental disorder over the phone with a newspaper so it would be necessary to provide an expert’s perspective to address the potential significance of missing information or undetected cause. The effect of possible journalistic incompetence in this case is to exclude unfavorable evidence while suggesting an allegation under the pretext of exploring possibilities or talking about an “atmosphere” that is not really news. The result of the Post’s reporting regardless includes misleading headlines such as “Ex-CIA chief Mark Kelton believes Pakistani agents poisoned him after US killed Osama bin Laden” (International Business Times) and other headlines and sentences implying more knowledge, belief or interest than has actually been claimed explicitly.
Who knows what the exact cause of Kelton’s pain was. It could be that Kelton wanted to avoid retaliation and being ill gave a way out, without Kelton’s even thinking it consciously or considering poisoning as an explanation initially. It could be that Kelton identified with Bin Laden, or that there was a psychological cause involving Al Qaeda being mixed up with the CIA historically. Regardless, blaming someone else for a suspected poisoning would not have helped Kelton recover from an illness with a hysterical cause.
In general, it will take being on the receiving end of occupation for Amerikans to take responsibility for things that may be related to much of their mental disorder. Amerikans in general both are highly privileged internationally and have a far-reaching sense of superiority and entitlement. They have great difficulty enduring criticism, embarrassment, and shame, and this gives rise to expressions of narcissism, myriad mental and physical symptoms, and in the case of middle-class whites a relatively safe partial acknowledgment of “privilege” that somehow makes them feel superior to the richer and the “white trash.” The world will not be deceived. ◊
“The exceptional trauma of Amerikans: Western inconsistency on psychiatry is a source of difficulty for Iran and Saudi Arabia,” 2016 April. https://github.com/pinotes/pinotes.github.io/blob/master/_posts/2016-04-28-news-The-exceptional-trauma-of-Amerikans.md
1. “After presiding over bin Laden raid, CIA chief in Pakistan came home suspecting he was poisoned by ISI,” 2016 May 5. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-bin-laden-raids-shadow-bad-blood-and-the-suspected-poisoning-of-a-cia-officer/2016/05/05/ace85354-0c83-11e6-a6b6-2e6de3695b0e_story.html
2. “Obama on bin Laden: the full ‘60 Minutes’ interview,” 2011 May 15. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-on-bin-laden-the-full-60-minutes-interview/
3. “The unmarried Pakistani woman who wrote about her sex life,” 2016 May 6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-36213811
4. “In shadow of bin Laden raid, bad blood and CIA officer’s suspected poisoning,” 2016 May 5. http://www.stripes.com/news/middle-east/in-shadow-of-bin-laden-raid-bad-blood-and-cia-officer-s-suspected-poisoning-1.408046
5. “CIA chief ‘poisoned by Pakistan spies’ after Osama bin Laden raid,” 2016 May 6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/05/06/cia-chief-poisoned-by-pakistan-spies-after-osama-bin-laden-raid/
“Former CIA chief in Pakistan suspected of being poisoned by ISI.” http://punjabtimes.com.au/former-cia-chief-in-pakistan-suspected-of-being-poisoned-by-isi/